However, JJ Fox is, they claim, the oldest trading tobacconist in the world - in this same building albeit only under this name for the last twenty years. It's a nice size, old-fashioned type shop, and the aroma of fine tobacco is extremely pleasant when you enter. In fact, it's nothing like the sour, cheap, nasty stench you may encounter when trying to get into any office or public building, having to push through the throng of gray-faced wheezing guardians chewing on their nasty cigarettes. No, this is smoking of a much higher grade, even a non-smoker than smell that.
And what does this have to do with museums? Well, as the extremely helpful and pleasant staff will tell you, downstairs is a cigar museum. I believe it was the original storeroom/walk in humidor, which has now transferred upstairs behind big glass doors.
And how can this be interesting you may ask? Well, it may not be big, but they have a pretty good collection of interesting items - not about the history of cigars, but more the people who bought cigars there, most notably Winston Churchill and, Oscar Wilde.
|As it was when Churchill used to visit|
|Caution - uncomfortable but highly historic chair!|
|Send the boy some cigars, just not as good as mine|
|Churchill's own cigars|
|Oscar, with letter of bankruptcy|
There's a lot of great memorabilia, books and odd items. This picture caught my eye:
|A Cuban Cigar Factory|
|By Royal Appointment to - virtually every King for a very long time|
The amazing smell of the place prompted me to buy a couple of cigars (yes, I don't smoke, but I have had the odd cigar in the past.) I think I marked myself out as a novice by asking for something 'not very strong'. They couldn't have been more helpful - and there are a very large number of cigars they have in stock. I haven't smoked either one yet, I'll wait for a special occasion.
Cost: Free. You don't need to buy a cigar either, they won't mind.
Food and Drink: No. Tobacco, yes.
Toilets: No. Don't be ridiculous.
Travel: It's here. Just round the corner from The Ritz, which is handy.